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4 people found the following review helpful:
A fun, light-hearted game with somewhat intricate puzzles, November 20, 2018
In Charming you play as an apprentice witch who has destroyed several magical items and must repair them. This requires solving a series of puzzles, often with multiple parts. Unlike, say, Dynamite Powers vs. the Ray of Night!, though, the gameplay isn't linear. After you solve what amounts to the initial puzzle you can work on a few different tasks at once. Normally having multi-part puzzles simultaneously going on would be a lot to keep track of, but the game includes a very helpful TODO command which will tell you what tasks are available, what tasks you've completed, and what tasks remain.
The puzzles themselves require a lot of consulting the various magical books for information. You really have to pay attention, and there's a lot of extra information that you don't end up needing. But I found this to be a plus; it provides background for the world that you're in, making gameplay feel more immersive. It also makes the puzzles more interesting; you can't just go through the magical books and say "O.K., what information have I not used yet?" in order to solve the puzzles. Some of the information can also be used to perform actions that later show up in the "For Your Amusement" list, increasing the game's playability.
One thing I found particularly satisfying was (Spoiler - click to show)creating a crystal ball. Structurally, it wasn't much different from the other multi-step puzzles, but something deep in me just really appreciated the act of constructing a fabled magical item that I've seen in dozens of stories and games.
One thing a player should be aware of going into the game is that some of the magical book topics only trigger on the entire phrase, whereas some will trigger with the entire phrase or the right keyword. However, the game does includes a shortcut READ verb, so that you can, for example, READ [a topic] instead of always having to CONSULT [a particular book] ABOUT [a topic].
Overall, I think Charming lives up to its name. I found it to be a fun, light-hearted game with somewhat intricate puzzles, and I would recommend it to fans of such. It's particularly impressive that this is the author's first work of IF. I hope she continues making games!